Tired

I’m tired.

I’m tired of being responsible.

I’m tired of “smiling” when it hurts.

I’m tired of solving one problem only to have two more pop up.

I’m tired of tears and pain and sorrow.

I’m tired of broken promises and lies and cheating.

I’m tired of being PC when the truth makes more sense.

I’m tired of insensitivity and immorality and stupidity.

I’m tired of ‘happiness’ at another’s expense.

I’m tired of excuses instead of honesty.

I’m tired of back-stabbing and slander and ugliness.

I’m tired of alone becoming lonely.

I’m tired of death and dying and grief.

I’m just tired of it all.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

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Featured Five Minute Friday:
Here’s the deal. Five Minute Friday. You go find the little prompt at the wonderful Lisa-Jo’s blog, set the time and write for five minutes, and then just stop. Where you are, no edits, just publish raw words.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word:::

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My daughter, my youngest child, is in her last semester of college. In a few short months, she will be a college graduate and a certified math teacher. While I look forward to not having to pay for tuition, apartment rent & books, I’m not sure I’m ready for her to be an REAL adult. I know she will do well. She is ready to begin the work she has been training for the past four+ years. She’s ready to find a teaching position and move into her own apartment. And, I’ll have my house all to myself. For the first time in twenty-six years, I’ll be living alone.

This is the last semester of complaining about papers that SHE owes to professors. The last semester to pretend she’s an adult. The last semester to totally depend upon mom. This is the last semester and the last little chick will soon leave the nest.

Old

I’m getting old. The signs are all there. I wear bifocals and hear better when I can see your mouth moving. My joints make noise when I stand up or sit down or just move around. I’m grateful when I get carded. A late night for me is staying up past the 10:00pm news.

I remember the original hip-huggers, bell bottoms, tie-dye shirts and VW Beetle. I grew up with Sunday dresses in a time when the older ladies still wore hats to church. I remember The Tonight Show before Jay Leno, when Johnny Carson was king and all three tv stations signed off at midnight with the national anthem.

I know where I was when Kennedy & Reagan were shot. I watched the Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I listened to the Apollo 13 reentry BEFORE it was a movie. I watched the Watergate hearings that preempted EVERYTHING for weeks and I saw Richard Nixon’s resignation speech.

I know what it takes to be a true cowboy and wore western boots for years before Urban Cowboy made it popular. I talked on CB radios to take care of farm business before they become popular and then useless. My dad took us to HAM-fests where he and other local HAM radio operators practiced emergency drills “just in case” their skills were needed in a disaster situation. I remember party lines and rotary phones and asking the operator to connect a long distance call.

And I remember when promises were kept, vows were sacred and integrity was important. I witnessed my grandparents and my parents celebrate their Golden wedding anniversaries. They worked hard in life and in their marriages. There was an order to life: marriage and then children. Families were important, cherished and protected. The notion of abandoning family for some fleeting moment of excitement or happiness was not accepted.

Maybe it was a simpler time. Or maybe, we’ve allowed the profane to take hold and destroy our families just because it seems easier or more fun. Maybe it’s time to take a stand for integrity and morals. Maybe I’m not too old to do that!

Necessary Gifts

Friends. We want them. We need them. I’ve heard it said that friends are a gift that you give to yourself. Hmmm, I wonder. . .

I grew up in a small farming community with my friends. Most of my graduating class had been together for 12 years, and a select few and even gone to kindergarten together. Our parents had grown up together. Many of our teachers had either taught our parents or gone to school with them. We had cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings in our school life. We played in different groups and made friends and best friends. It wasn’t hard.

When I ventured across the state to attend college, I stepped into a world of unknowns. I had to meet new people and make new friends. It was scary and exciting. I discovered that people did like me even when they had other options. I was still the “mother” in the group and they still liked me. Many of my fondest college memories are from my early days of dorm life, doing life as a pretend adult with my new friends. And, they’re still friends today.

After graduation, I moved to the big city to work. Finding friends was a bit more challenging. I had work friends, but longed for the close friendships of college. For the first few months of my new life, I had a very predictable schedule: Get up and go to work, come home and fix supper, eat and do the dishes, go to bed. Many days ended before 7:00pm. I searched for a church home, but had a hard time finding a welcoming singles group. I fell back on my college relationships and held on to the past. It was the end of my first year in Houston when I found a church that needed me as much as I needed it. The singles group was just starting at Spring Woods. I watched it grow and change thru the next four years. I made many friends over the years. Many people came thru my life during that time. A few became fast friends. And, one became my closest friend. I married him.

As my husband and I negotiated married life, our circle of friends changed. We had ministry friends that came into our lives and them moved on to other areas. Many of our relationships were based on our kids. Children became the common thread. As our kids moved thru school, we got to know different parents. And as sports and band took center stage, we spent a lot of time with the other parents. It seemed there wasn’t much time to develop deep relationships. There were friendships, but I always felt a little separated, distant. I had my family and really didn’t have the energy to truly invest in others. The hardest distance to cover between two people is often measured in inches.

And then the world crumbled around me. My new identity was widow, single-mom. Suddenly, I needed friends. I discovered how important it is to invest in friends. The distance I had felt seemed to disappear into comfort, familiarity and safety. Dear friends didn’t miss a beat. I survived those months on the kindness and love shown to me by friends, both old and new.

I find it amusing when listening to my daughter and her friends describing each other. The term “best friend” or BFF comes up in every description. With the use of social media such as FaceBook, it’s quite possible to see the same young woman post about her bestie five times in a row and mention a different “best friend” every time. When I question how one can have more than one BEST friend (much less five or eight), I usually get an eye roll accompanied by “You just don’t understand!” For some reason, I don’t think I’m the one that doesn’t understand. But, maybe these twenty-somethings have it right. I often complain of being lonely while hiding behind my own self-erected barriers. I can be with a group of people and feel that I might as well be a thousand miles away. If friends are a gift that you give to yourself, then is too much “me” a problem? Do I manufacture Distance and separation in an attempt to control all circumstances? Have I forgotten what it means to be a friend, much less a BFF?

Fortunately, I have been given the great gift of friends. I have many acquaintances and casual friends. But most importantly, I have a few very special and dear friends. Friends that are not offended by the REAL me. Friends that are there for tears and the laughter. Friends that share the real stuff that invades our lives. Friends that are there even when I’m NOT a very good friend. I treasure these friends. I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully explain how important their gift of friendship is to me.

Friends. I want them. I need them. I will never again take the gift of friendship for granted. I have the BEST friends.

I Remember

I remember that day 12 years ago.

I remember listening to the radio as the reporter told of a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. And, then hearing about the second plane crashing into the towers. I remember walking into my bosses office to see if he had heard what was happening. We were all stunned.

I remember sitting around the radio trying to find out what had happened. The computer systems were crashing from everyone attempting to stream live feeds from the news programs. We heard about the Pentagon crash and then the fourth plane crashing into a field. We heard the rumors and tried to imagine what was happening to our world.

I remember the announcement that our building was closing for the day and we should all go home. The garage was a madhouse as all the drivers attempted to escape. It took a full thirty minutes for me to exit the garage. Even with the extra traffic of businesses shutting down for the day, the streets were strangely subdued.

I remember going to the bike shop where my husband worked and trying to call the schools where my children attended. Were they closing? Should I come and get my children? After number attempts and busy signals, I was told that we could get our kids if we wanted. Our daughter was in elementary school. She was told that they could not play outside because the ozone warnings were high that day. She was mad when I did get her from school. And, then I explained what had really happened and she was upset for a different reason. The Junior High where my son attended allowed the students to watch the news as it unfolded on the television screen.

I remember seeing video of the planes that were grounded all over the United States. Plans were changed in an instant. People were stranded in odd places, destinations delayed indefinitely. Regional airports that were capable were inundated with the large jet liners. Many people made other arrangements for travel to avoid getting on an airplane.

I remember our President standing before the country during this emergency. He was the voice of calm and reason.

I remember our country uniting that day. Churches were filled during those days and weeks of turmoil. People were looking for assurance, for calm, for peace. Differences were forgotten and we all stood together as Americans, at least for a time.

I remember when fear came to reside in our country. We were no longer safe from intruders. We could no longer trust. Lots of things changed that day twelve years ago.

I remember September 11, 2001.

Aging

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (Proverbs 20:29 ESV)

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.” Leviticus 19:32

“Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.” Job 32:7

“I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, Yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you.” Isaiah 46:3b-4a LB

How did this happen? When did I get old? I remember working with the youth group in my church when I was in my twenties. One day, it dawned on me: I had crossed the line from being “one of us” to being “one of them.” I was an adult. I might be a “cool” adult according to the teens, but I was an adult – one of them. I’ve crossed another invisible line in the recent past. I’m no longer a young mom or even a young widow. I’m quickly moving into the group that is dominated by grandkids pictures and empty nesting stories. This is the group where retirement locations are more important than school districts. We don’t remember what our hair color really is and spend lots of money to be sure we never find out. When we discuss our “latest video” it’s probably the one taken of our latest colonoscopy. Suppertime is early and bedtime even earlier for this group since we wake up every two hours and struggle to go back to sleep. We have multiple pairs of “cheater glasses” that are placed in strategic locations.

What age is “too old”? I straddle the music preferences of my church and not always successfully. I learned to sing and play the piano to the old hymns. I remember when “Pass it On” and “He’s Everything to Me” were the IN youth choruses. I’ve come to accept and even appreciate the 7-11 songs: you know the ones, you sing the same 7 words 11 times. Many Sundays, I help lead worship and I realize that I am old enough to be the mother of EVERYONE that is standing on the stage with me. Do today’s congregations really want to see a frumpy, middle-aged woman singing today’s modern music? Have I become my generation’s version of the rouged cheeked, hat wearing women of our childhood?

Where do I go, now? I struggle with direction now more than I ever did as a teen. I’m not sure of my next step. Do I keep on the same path and hope that I don’t become a painful joke along the way? Do I approach life as Betty White assuming that everyone will come along for the ride? Or, is it better for all concerned if I begin “retiring” now. I don’t know. So, I guess, for now, I’ll take advantage of the discounts that come with getting old. I’ll just continue to color my hair, cream my face and embarrass my kids with my ‘wit’.

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.” Deut. 32:7a

My Fence

My fence marks the boundaries. It keeps my dogs in and their dogs out. It protects me from prying eyes. It’s hides imperfections. It keeps me safe from intruders.

My fence takes lots of work. Boards get knocked out or break. The main posts rot and fall. The cross boards sag and fail. Trees grow and push it out of alignment. High winds knock down entire sections, exposing my secrets to the world.

Others peer thru the cracks and gaps to see what is behind my fence. It’s both frightening and exhilarating. Is it safe to let others behind my fence? Will they understand what they see? Will they accept the imperfect life that lives behind the 6′ wall? Or will they walk away and leave it lonelier than before?

My fence is vulnerable. My fence can be isolating. My fence ensnares me and keeps me prisoner. And yet, I fear losing that very fence. It is my security, my captor, my guard.

Who will dare to look behind the fence?